Ensuring the safety of all Sri Lankans is more important that holding elections, former UNP MP Arjuna Ranatunga told a news conference yesterday and said the government should think of preventing the spread of the coronavirus rather than thinking of politics and elections.
“This is not the time to hold election rallies, which are usually attended by large crowds and it is also not advisable to carry out house to house campaigning. The country will suffer a bigger disaster than from the war if this crisis situation is not properly handled,” Mr. Ranatunga said. “Election is not important at this moment. Polls can be held any time. We in the opposition are ready to support any measures adopted by the government to stop the spread of the virus.”
Mr. Ranatunga said the steps taken by the government to prevent the spread of the disease were unsatisfactory.
“It should prevent people from gathering for various purposes including the National New Year programmes,” he said and added that two cases of coronavirus infection has been reported in Sri Lanka and the government must investigate how it originated here and whom they had associated with.
Mr. Ranatunga said these days many in the country were talking of politics while the entire world had taken measures to prevent the spread of the virus by demarcating danger zones, imposing a ban on air traffic.
He said the Sri Lankan government should also adopt strict measures like what was happening across the world.
Meanwhile, UNP General Secretary, former MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam in a special statement said the measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of the virus was far from satisfactory.
He said some foreigners had been allowed into the country without subjecting them to quarantine.
“However, we welcome the move by the government to close schools, pre-schools and Sunday schools,” Mr. Kariyawasam said.
He said the UNP would cooperate with the government in preventing the spread of the coronavirus and stressed the need for broad measures to be adopted to deliver the nation from the present crisis. (Yohan Perera)